December 6th, 2006

Counting (Shuffle)

New anime

Souten no Ken: The inheritor of some fearsome martial arts technique hides in Japan, but when his Triad buddies are in trouble he goes back to kill his opponents!
If you want to see bulky men kill even bulkier men with only a finger, this is for you.

009-1: The Cold War never ended, and the world is divided into the West Block and the East Block, with a shaky 'false peace' kept by the threat of mutual destruction. Obviously, both sides try to tip the balance of power to their favour, using whatever means are available to them. The West Block has a team of cyborg spies, who never experience a dull moment...
Cool concept, nice art. The story of the first episode felt very "Metal Gear"-like to me (what with an army helicopter blowing up a tall building in a military base and all that).

Kekkaishi: Two neighbouring families claim that only they are the rightful inheritor of some mysitcal technique to seal away monsters. The son of one family is (in secret) friends with the daughter of the other family, but when they are out patroling the school grounds at night, they are rivals!
Pretty amusing, and it is interesting to see whether the two can learn to work together. I'm sure that will become necessary in the future.

The World's Strongest Disciple: Kenichi: Some dweeb (nicknamed 'Weak Legs') constantly gets bullied. He decides to become a strong martial artist, and following the advice of a girl who pulled off some cool moves against a band of thugs, he goes to a mysterious dojo, where only the strongest teachers teach!
If you think Souten no Ken is your cup of tea, then you might as well watch this one along with it.

Soko no Strain: Sara enlists in some space-pilot academy to learn how to pilot mecha. She wants to follow her brother, who got sent to the frontlines in the battle against the Deague. But one evening, the academy is attacked by Deague forces, and she sees her brother take off with a girl who was sleeping in a capsule somewhere on campus!
Good artwork, nice non-standard mecha. The writers don't have a problem with killing off their supporting cast either, which gives a sense of urgency as well.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn: A maffia hitman mentor travels to Japan, where the would-be don of the maffia lives: Tsuna, who is a totally unremarkable boy with a lack of courage. Whenever Tsuna thinks he can't do something, the hitman shoots him with a special 'Reborn'-bullet: those killed by it are immediately revived to fulfill their dying wish -- Tsuna must learn to live without regrets.
Artwork isn't very good, and the story is quite childish and not that funny.

Gift - Eternal Rainbow is set in a tiny village that is populated by people with a magical gift. They can give their feelings to someone, and if the feelings are mutual, a wish can be fulfilled. A rainbow is always visible over the village. Haruhiko is somewhat of an expert in this magic, and whenever things threaten to go wrong, he tries to fix things.
Quite 'moe', and will probably turn into a harem anime quite soon. The magical aspect is an interesting twist to it, though.

Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto: Set just before the Meiji Restoration, we see a lone swordsman sulk around the capital, while a troupe of stage performers are plotting the assassination of someone, for some reason, because they are busy with something -- or something like that. Add in a touch of the supernatural, and it all gets incomprehensible.

Legend of Mana

I have been playing Legend of Mana. I am enjoying it more than I thought I would.

I really like the visual style. klik described it as "fairy tales meets 70's style Holly Hobbie" -- it's all quite cute and cartoony, but there is definately a dark side to the world.
You can create your own world by placing artifacts on a map, which result in different places 'growing' -- the places interact with each other, and you can go into a place and complete a story there. Some stories span multiple places. Some characters you meet, figure in multiple stories.

Sometimes, "non-linear gameplay" means that you have to run around the world every time you have acquired a new item to see if that will open a certain part of the world that was previously inaccessible (see: Zelda, Link to the Past). I don't enjoy those kinds of games.
Legend of Mana gets it right: there is no set order to place the artifacts. There is no set order in which to complete the stories (though some stories occur before others). If you feel like adventuring, just go to some place and see what happens.

There is a ton of stuff to do outside of adventuring: growing weird fruit on a talking tree, raising monsters as pets, stuff like that. It will make your adventuring life easier, but it isn't a requirement, which is good. Some enemies are hard to beat (the ones at the end of 'Reach for the Stars' took me five tries), but they're never impossible to beat.

Overall, I am enjoying myself immensely.
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